When I was a teenager(which was many years ago, I won't say how many) I discovered yoga through an article in Glamour Magazine. The article described the benefits of Yoga and shared the basic Sun salutations. Even as a teen I was interested in discovering new ideas which made the exotic practice of yoga very appealing to a young girl from suburban Philadelphia. I practiced my limited idea of yoga until going off to college for a even bigger adventure. During my college years my yoga practice disappeared with me really forgetting all about how much I had gained from my yoga practice.
Four years of college came and when, fast forward to being married, working, smoking, not eating that healthy, leading a very busy life, when I realized that I was twenty five and couldn't run across the street without being winded! I decided right then, standing at the street curb, trying to catch my breath, that I was going to become physically fit again. First on my list was to quite my two pack a day smoking habit. Why did I ever start smoking? I don't know unless it was just the allure of being in college, on my own, grown up. After a few failed attempts I just said that was it and quit. Knowing that most people gain weight when they stop smoking was very concerning to me. I have always been thin, gaining weight was not an option. Then just when the universe sends you exactly what you need I saw where my locale school district was offering adult education classes in yoga, Hatha yoga. A once a week class lead by teachers from a nearby ashram. I signed up immediately. Each week my hour class became so important to my transformation back to being healthy and fit. I instituted a home yoga practice into my daily routine, became vegetarian and started running again. Within a year I felt reborn, renewed physically and spiritually. An additional benefit was that I did not gain any weight when I quit smoking, in fact I felt physically my best.
I wish I could say that I kept up my yoga practice but I can't. Along came three children with all the wonderful daily family activities, I lost my practice. I still ran and worked out at gym but no yoga. A move to another state took me far away from where I first started practicing. My children grew up, starting on their life's path leaving me with many extra hours for me. Funny the universe sent me again a message about yoga. Everyday on my way home from my work day I would drive down the same street past a new yoga studio. I was thinking that I wanted to find my yoga practice again all the time I am driving right past a studio. Seeing the sign everyday gave me the push to start practicing at the studio. My first practice was so thrilling for me to be back on my mat. Not Hatha Yoga this time, hot power yoga is my practice which has transformed me. Not only physically but spiritually. Yoga along with my readings has helped me face very hard situations without judgement, negativity or stress. I have learned acceptance of what shows up in my life. Acceptance to me means that I acknowledge that I can not change what is here. I can't make it go away by not accepting, or ignoring, or just making a rash decision. Accepting mean that I know that I can only control how I react to what comes into my life. How powerful, how simple! I have the power to control how I react to an event, a person, a change that shows up in my life. And by acceptance I don't attach any labels, good, bad, like, dislike etc, not creating any drama. Living with acceptance gives me the freedom to handle each new situation in the present, not in the past, leading to change and a new outcome, not just repeating the same old tired outcomes. I no longer paint each situation with the same colors of previous events. Frankly I finally learned to see each event as it should be; a new opportunity presenting me with endless possibilities.
Do old habits show up for me? Do I sometimes slip back into my old ways? Yes I do! That's where my yoga practice plays such an important balancing aspect of my life. Now I know that I can take to my mat feeling, as I like to say, refreshed, reborn, renewed able to live how I choose, control how I react, living a much simpler, easier drama free life!
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